What is an IP address?
A network IP (Internet Protocol) address is assigned to each device on a computer network. This address is like your street address in that it provides a known, reliable, and uniquely assigned destination for all communication for a device on the network. This makes possible things like printing, file storage and Internet access. IP addresses normally consist of numbers separated by dots, for example 192.168.1.1.
Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses
A network IP address may be assigned statically or dynamically:
Dynamic IP addresses are widely used to simplify network management and prevent duplicate addresses. This is analogous to the post office assigning our street address and zip code rather than allowing each business and homeowner to decide what their own address will be.
Certain computer software is designed to communicate directly with another computer on a network. This is often called a client-server architecture. In these cases, the main (server) computer must have a fixed static IP address in order to maintain uninterrupted availability and communication with the clients. If a server computer relies on a dynamic IP address, its address will periodically change. When this happens, the clients will no longer find the server at its old address. This causes a sudden loss of ability for the clients to communicate with the server.
Virtual TimeClock & Static IP Addresses
Virtual TimeClock Network edition runs as a client-server environment. This means that the computer running the Virtual TimeClock Server software must be assigned a static IP address. Communication is initiated one way (from client to server) so computers running Virtual TimeClock Client software do not need a static IP address.
Setting a Static IP Address
While assigning a static IP address is relatively simple, it is up to the person making the assignment to ensure the address is valid for the network and does not conflict with any other device on the network. If you are unaware how your network is setup we strongly recommend that you rely on a networking professional to set a static IP address for you.
There are a number of internet resources that provide instructions on how to properly set a static IP address. We have found the articles on setting a static IP at portforward.com to contain accurate and informative instructions for all popular computer operating systems.